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June 3, 2019

Federal Judge Strikes Down Obama-Era Water Rule

As Politico’s “Morning Energy” reported last Wednesday, a federal judge in Galveston, Texas has struck down the Obama administration’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule on procedural grounds.

The Metals Service Center Institute, along with the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other groups opposed this regulation.

As Politico explains, Judge George C. Hanks found the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) violated federal law by adding distance limits in the final regulation that were not a “logical outgrowth” of the proposal, and closing the public comment period before the agency had issued the final version of a key scientific report used to justify the rule. Judge Hanks sent the rule back to EPA for further work. (The EPA, under the Trump administration, already has begun rewriting the regulation.)

The rule as written by the Obama administration does remain in effect in roughly half the 50 U.S. states since they aren’t covered by preliminary injunctions.